Pete? Our Pete?
We may live in Sandy Eggo, but at heart we’ll always be an Expat Oregonian — or more specifically, an Expat Eugenean.
We were born there, after all, around the corner from the structure used as the exterior for Animal House. Lived there almost forty years. Our parents still live in the house where we moved in 1964.
We go back.
And so does Our Congressman, Peter DeFazio. He’s been representing midwestern Oregon since 1987, after working for his predecessor Jim Weaver and sitting for a term on the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He got his master’s from the University of Oregon the year we entered as a freshman. He may live next door in Springfield, but he’s as Typical Eugene as you get. Just like us.
So we were amused when he turned up to chat with Rachel Maddow the other night, fronting the Progressive Caucus in its attempt to keep the bailout focused on infrastructure — and even more amused when he voted against the final bill on Friday.
That’ll get him some attention.
Presuming he continues his rise to prominence, about all you need to know about Pete is that he’s not a hack. Eugene — unlike Portland — is incapable of producing hacks. It’s not big enough. For that matter, DeFazio isn’t part of the Berkeley North club — we’ll be surprised if we start hearing glib lefty nostrums from him. He’s as close to a high-school civics public servant as you’ll see in These United States.
We met him once, back in the ’90s, soon after the Republicans took over Congress. He was giving a talk on campus, and we asked what difference it made which party was in charge. The answer was clear and prompt: The Rulers set the agenda.
Rep. DeFazio: ‘I Think Obama Is Ill-Advised By Larry Summers. Larry Summers Hates Infrastructure’ [Think Progress, Jan. 23, with Maddow video]